Aug 032011

Like many, I often wonder “what’s next for digital?” And, like many, I find multiple answers, almost all short term, with 3 month to 3 year windows.

With innovation happening at warp speed, that’s understandable. There’s Gaming for safe human interaction and competition, mobile because we’re always on the move and our computers have become phones, 4G speeds, check-in and web-apps (and increasingly, video integration). In response there’s also room for broad information outreach, location advertising, coupon targeting and comprehensive on-the-move social integration.

But another side to this, and the most inherently social one, I believe, is the micro curation that we’re all doing for one another. By this I mean the way in which we’re increasingly making editorial decisions about what information to channel to the individuals and groups in our social circles and how they are in turn doing the same for us.

For instance, when I read a story with a Russian angle, I push it to a Russian friend who’ll want to read it, the same goes for an article on budgets or a cute music video. I make an editorial decision based on our real-life friendships and/or established mutual interests, and that in turn helps create their informational world. Write large, we are all helping to shape and change each other’s realities, and we’re doing it in small, self-selected, micro-curated and therefore effective increments.

And that’s the point at which I believe that digital will continue to converge with eternal principles of human behavior and instinct. Where we enlighten, inform and delight not just the broad “other” of the Twitterverse, but rather create a specific informational contribution for someone most likely to need and relate to that meaning.

So what about the birds and the bees?

One of my favorite acts of nature is the bees’ Waggle Dance, where the bee –upon finding a juicy flower- comes back to the hive and does a little dance, directing bee onlookers to the location of the flower so they can also dine on delicious pollen and strengthen the hive.

As for birds, they are so often the first thing one hears in the morning or after a storm or anytime one listens to ambient noise. Birds are always communicating, with each other, with other animals, and even with humans.

Both of them are engaging in social interaction, just like we do and just like all other communicating creatures who share information in exchange for the rewards that creates.

So how can members from outside these chose circles best gain entry to these circles? If they think of themselves as outsiders, if they try to get a circle to be interested in something it was not already interested in, well then, they will remain outside the circle.

It would seem then, that it would be best to look to our essential communication/behavioral instincts and always strive to make information available to the self-selected individuals or groups who have chosen to seek out either the information we provide, or the groupings that relate to the information we are trying to transmit.

To do anything else seems like swimming against the best tides of the digital stream.

To Be Continued in “The Space/Time Social Continuum”…

  • Bojun

    How interesting and well put!  You’re saying that it makes more sense to talk to the parts of ourselves (in our friends) that are welcoming, than to try to convince the closed-off, non-receptive parts of ourselves (in our friends) to be other than they are.  This makes for increased speed of feedback, specialization, and development.  … but the “I want everyone to be friends” part of me says, “so how will we ever come together as a world if we don’t try to communicate across boundaries?”

  • It’s a question of where your time is best spent, as a person or organization. Do you try to convince someone to do something they’ve expressed no interest in? Or do you try to engage those who already show an interest in the matter being considered. And when you have information at hand, as a friend or researcher, you already have some pretty good information on who’s already interested and who isn’t. Even with the Waggle Dance, not all the bees watch the dance, even though there’s nectar being offered. But enough do, and the dance is for them.